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One way to enhance the interoperability of medical service personnel is by training service specialists to a common standard. A methodology is outlined for defining a common standard of practice (SOP) that can be applied to any enlisted medical specialty with the goal of consolidating training for enlisted military personnel across the services. The methodology involves three analytic tasks: Define a common SOP for the specialty, validate it through reviews by military and civilian subject matter experts, and identify a set of training options that will result in the required number of specialists trained to a given level of proficiency. The methodology is illustrated by applying it to the military surgical technologist specialty. The authors examine the commonality of work across services rather than commonality of training as currently provided to define a common scope of practice. They identify and evaluate different training methods and different ways of obtaining qualified medical personnel. However, the authors note that achieving common training is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving interoperability and that interoperability may be more easily achieved in future years as other transformational initiatives are implemented.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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